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Date of creation: 
steel, wood
Collection Name: 
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Yelta is an iron steam tug.


Yelta was built in 1949 to a design that was prepared by Cockatoo Dockyard staff. It was fitted with a triple expansion engine that had been built for a corvette during the Second World War and was now surplus. It was built for Adelaide Steamship Company and spent the next 27 years berthing craft and towing them in and out of Port Adelaide. Yelta was retired in November 1976 as South Australia’s last fully operational steam tug. The tug remains in excellent operating condition and is one of a select few ex-commercial steam vessels remaining afloat around Australia. It now provides regular cruises of the Port River.


Yelta holds technological significance as the only working steam tug in South Australia. Its triple expansion engine is an example of a design which powered ships of all sizes through much of the twentieth century. Socially, Yelta was the workplace and temporary home for crews, and its fabric represents much about their working lives and relations.


Length overall:  30.48 m

Beam: 7.62 m

Draught: 3.81 m

Maker: Cockatoo Island Dockyard

Associated locations: Cockatoo Island, Port Adelaide



To whom is concerned, hello, my name is Dylan Shaw. I'm a volunteer trainee fireman on the PS Industry in Renmark and keen gain more experience and learn about your vessel. Please email me some information about how I can learn more about your vessel.kind regardsDylan Shaw

You have a nice steamtugboat. Is there an film off the boat so i can see more.?

Would like to visit and take a ride on the Yelta.

Preently I am scratch building a 1:48 RC scale model of her from a copy of the original paper plans, given to me many years ago from a friend who worked for Cockatoo Dockyards in Sydney, NSW.

There maybe some very minor details that I might miss from these plans so I am wondering if there is any avenue to be able to gain these details from you directly. Maybe with one of your wonderful volunteers that operate her taking and sending me via email some photo's of the details. Eg closeup of the tow hook and its attachment to the rear of lower cabin rear wall.

It appears that the bridge cabin on top has been narrowed, a change from the original plans. Galley Vent now looks lowered too.

Sadly my model won't be powered with a miniture steam engine but by electric motor, will be fitted with a smoke generator and have a steam sound module. That's as close as I can get a model at this scale.

Could not find out what happened to her sister ship the 'Wonga'.

Like what I have seen of your museum and I have viewed all the relevate You tube videos that I could find.

Yours Sincerely,

Steve Bell

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